The 49-year-old man accused in the death of a Davenport girl has consented to a change of venue from Scott County to Linn County for his upcoming trial, according to court documents.
A change of venue was granted in March for Henry Dinkins, of Davenport. He has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and kidnapping in connection with the disappearance and death of 10-year-old Breasia Terrell.
Dinkins, according to a court document filed Monday, understands a proposed venue change to Linn County is being considered. He “acknowledges that he has discussed this matter fully with counsel and considered all options presented for a venue change. He does hereby consent to a venue change to Linn County for trial herein,” the document says.
Attorneys Chad Frese and Jennifer Frese represent Dinkins, court documents say.
In other court documents, Dinkins has asked for a private investigator.
The disappearance of Breasia Terrell
Dinkins is accused in the slaying of Breasia Terrell on or about July 10, 2020. His family maintains his innocence.
Breasia was last seen July 10, 2020, after she stayed overnight with her brother and Dinkins, who is the boy’s father.
After Breasia’s body was found March 22, 2021, near DeWitt, authorities confirmed her identity on March 31, 2021.
A survey and a request for a change of venue
An earlier motion for a change of venue refers to a survey created by Personal Marketing Research for the State Public Defender’s Office.
A questionnaire was drafted to determine valid estimates of the awareness level in Scott County regarding the case, the motion says.
A sample size of 408 persons who comprised a “stratified random sample” of potential Scott County jurors was used, the motion says.
The results indicate 38% of Scott County respondents interviewed said they had heard of Dinkins, while 68% of respondents interviewed said they have heard of Breasia Terrell. “Significantly, 85% of the pool interviewed were aware of the case,” the motion document says.
Half of the respondents who reported awareness mentioned the internet as their source of awareness and of those who listed the internet as their main source, 70% specifically reported Facebook as their source. Also, 47% of the Scott County residents who were aware of any portion of the case or either name reported that they had formed an opinion as to the guilt or innocence of Dinkins.
“Of those persons, 77% stated that they would find the defendant guilty,” the document says.
“The data obtained from the Change of Venue Study shows that in no uncertain terms a significant degree of prejudice exists in Scott County such that there is a substantial likelihood a fair and impartial trial cannot be preserved with jury selection from Scott County.”
“As such, a change of venue is appropriate and necessary to safeguard the constitutional rights of the Defendant, under both the Iowa and United States Constitutions,” the motion says.